This Was the Average Age of Marriage in 2021

According to The Knot Real Wedding Study.
Esther Lee - Deputy Editor, The Knot
by
Esther Lee
Esther Lee - Deputy Editor, The Knot
Esther Lee
Deputy Editor
  • Esther is the Deputy Editor of The Knot. She currently leads all content on The Knot Wellness, focusing on financial, relationship, and mental wellbeing.
  • She oversees The Knot's travel vertical (honeymoons, destination weddings, bach parties), as well as overarching features and trends.
  • She proudly serves on the Advisory Council of VOW For Girls, focusing on ending the injustice of child marriage around the world.
Updated Feb 15, 2022

The pandemic had a major impact on all things weddings—including the average age of marriage. According to The Knot 2021 Real Weddings Study, the average age of marriage in the U.S. increased in 2021. Yes, the national marital age has steadily increased over the last decade, but this jump appears to be directly related to COVID's disruption of the wedding industry. Many of the 15,000 respondents who married between January 1 and December 31, 2021, had postponed their weddings from 2020 to 2021, meaning that they got married a year later than initially intended.

The 2021 Average Age of Marriage

In 2021, the average age of marriage for female participants was 33, while male respondents married at age 35. The average age of marriage in the US therefore falls at 34 years. However, there was a difference in average age between those who postponed their wedding (average age: 34) and those who didn't (average age: 33). This would make sense, as those who postponed their wedding from 2020 to 2021 married a year later than planned. Either way, this year's average age of marriage has increased from 2019 and 2020, when the average marital age for a couple was 32.

We have seen a steady increase in average marital age over the past decade. Presumably, it's the average age of the first marriage for the majority of participants, and this number is influenced by a variety of factors. Overall societal behavioral patterns, including an evolving workforce and a stronger sense of self-sufficiency, play a role in influencing the average age of marriage in the US.

"We're realizing that the brain doesn't fully develop until people are around 25 years of age, which is very different from how people used to think about adulthood, which was 18 or college age," says New York-based clinical psychologist Dr. Lara Friedrich. "People are taking longer to find themselves, which is a good thing. By the time people are getting married, they have a better sense of who they really are, meaning they're more secure in their career and their sense of self the older they get. And that helps them make good decisions with their life partner."

"Life is not so traditional anymore," adds Kathleen Entwistle, Private Wealth Advisor and Managing Director of Sports and Entertainment at Morgan Stanley. "Many couples are both working, therefore they are getting married for the first time later."

So how exactly does the increase in the average age of marriage impact weddings? Year over year, the Real Weddings Study finds that more couples are contributing to the total cost of the wedding, as opposed to solely relying on parents on either side to financially support the nuptials. "The finances of each family can also be a factor," Entwistle speculates. "When the average age of marriage increases, couples tend to take more ownership in both the details of the wedding, as well as the sharing of the expenses."

The Average Age of Marriage By Region

Not-so-surprising is that the average age of couples varies according to region. Among 2021 couples, the average age of marriage was highest in the Northeast (34), while couples in the Midwest and Southwest wed at 32. Regionality certainly has its impact on a variety of factors related to wedding planning, including the average cost of a wedding, the average number of guests and, of course, the average age of marriage. In 2021, COVID likely played a role in the regional differences in the average marriage age, as gathering restrictions were quicker to be lifted in certain areas and couples able to marry sooner (read: younger).

"Even micro-regional influence counts," says Dr. Friedrich, who also attributes education level and socioeconomics as top factors that play into the overall formula of marriage age. "And if you work with clients who are religious, there might be the possibility of lower averages in the age of marriage." See how it breaks down per region below.

  • Northeast: Female, 33, Male, 34; Average Age of Couple, 34
  • Mid-Atlantic: Female, 33, Male, 34; Average Age of Couple, 33
  • Midwest: Female, 31, Male, 33; Average Age of Couple, 32
  • South/Southeast: Female, 33, Male, 34; Average Age of Couple, 33
  • Southwest: Female, 32, Male, 33; Average Age of Couple, 32
  • West: Female, 33, Male, 34; Average Age of Couple, 33

The Average Age of Marriage By State

According to our 2021 Real Weddings Study data, couples based in certain states across the U.S. will skew based on locale, depending on towns and proximity to close friend groups. "There's research on this that people are very influenced by their peers," says Dr. Friedrich. "There's a very real peer effect where people see their friends and inner circle getting married and that can cause more pressure. People's influence on each other and their social circles can be very strong."

See the state-by-state breakdown below.

Alabama, 32
Arkansas, 30*
Arizona, 33
California, 34
Colorado, 32
Connecticut, 35
Delaware, 33*
D.C. (Metro DC, Maryland, Northern Virginia), 36
Florida, 35
Georgia, 33
Hawaii, 36*
Idaho, 32*
Illinois, 33
Indiana, 32
Iowa, 31
Kentucky, 33
Kansas, 31
Louisiana, 34
Maine, 35
Maryland, 34
Massachusetts, 33
Michigan, 32
Minnesota, 32
Mississippi, 32*
Missouri, 32
Montana, 31*
Nebraska, 30*
Nevada, 37
New Hampshire, 34
New Jersey, 34
New Mexico/Arizona, 33*
New York, 34
North Carolina, 34
Dakotas (North & South Dakota), 32*
Ohio, 32
Oklahoma, 32
Oregon, 34
Pennsylvania, 33
Rhode Island, 33*
South Carolina, 35
Tennessee, 32
Texas, 33
Utah, 30
Vermont, 33*
West Virginia/Virginia, 34
Washington, 33
Wisconsin, 33
Wyoming, 32*
*2019 data

Millennial marital success is still being reviewed by researchers, but there is one strong habit to properly form from the onset of marriage (and the relationship itself). "Communication is key," says Dr. Friedrich. "Communicating with each other that allows you to listen, avoiding defensiveness, criticism, stonewalling and contempt are four things that lead couples down the road to divorce, according to the Gottman Institute [a research-based theory that focuses on marital stability]. Taking time to speak and communicate in a way that is meaningful can be useful."

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